Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Bring the band!

As you've noticed in the comments section of previous posts, the full band will not be in Nashville. Instead BC will travel with just 39 members. The full band needs to be there. Here's why:

-- The band kids put in hours of their time for our entertainment. Their payoff is a trip like this. They've earned it, just like the players.
-- The school can't ask all of us to turnout and then not bring along an important element of the college football experience like the band.
-- Revenue is shared among the ACC, so the cost or prestige of the bowl shouldn't impact the decision.
-- It's the Music City Bowl. If any group of people appreciate the destination, it will be the band members. I am sure they will use the little down time they have to check out some of the country music tourist stops.

I don't know where the 39 number came from. It may have something to do with the size of the charter or available hotel rooms. If a 40th member necessitates another plane, have some of the folks fly commercial. Or send the band down in a bus. These kids earned a trip too. Unless there is reason against sending a larger band, then BC should step up and get these BC guys and gals to Nashville.


Matt said...

As a former band member, reading this news is infuriating. Unlike other schools, the members of BC's marching band don't receive class credit for their efforts and virtually none receive scholarships -- yet they practice for almost ten hours at night during the school week and devote their entire game day to rehearsing and playing. Unlike the rest of the fans, who have the luxury of showing up late, going inside when it gets cold, or leaving when the game is out of contention, the band members stay until the very end. In fact, due to a marching band rule, members cannot drink alcohol 24 hours before a performance (I'm not kidding --- and it's strictly enforced) --- which effectively inhibits their activities on the day before the game as well. In sum, the marching band members are among the school's most devoted fans. Moreover (as anyone who has watched a halftime show can attest) they are pretty freaking good. For BC Athletics to refuse to let them share in the "reward" that a bowl game presents is absolutely unconscionable.

I'd be interested in knowing how many deans, vice presidents, and alumni "development" staff are allowed to travel to Nashville on the school charter.

Anonymous said...

Excuse me, the NFL, the most profitable sports league in the world just laid off 150 people. What planet or more importantly, what school did you people attend.


Should BC really be sending the band to a third tier bowl?

Unknown said...

Thanks for pulling for my family of bandos, Bill! They really do deserve the recognition, even if they don't earn a free trip.

Ryan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ryan said...

@ Michael

Way to completely NOT READ any of the post. There is a travel stipend provide by the ACC for this exact reason. All ACC bowl teams share revenue. This is nothing but a cash grab for athletics. Either that or they're reallocating the funds to somewhere where we probably don't need them (like a ritzy hotel or travel)

Big Jack Krack said...

Go BC - send the band - beat Vanderbilt on the field and in the "Battle of the Bands".

Use this to put BC's best foot forward - use this as a student recruiting tool. How can we attract top students if we're not proud of yourself? If there is a stipend from the ACC available for this - shame on us if we don't send the entire band. SHAME!

CT said...

The bowl payout structure for the ACC equals roughly $30-31 million for the conference to split among all teams.

After expenses taken by the conference, I'd assume each school gets a bit over $2 million each.

"Should BC really be sending 150 people to a third-tier bowl?"

This, I'm afraid, is why BC has a lousy travel reputation. Chicken or egg? Traveling fanbase or mediocre bowls? Which came first?

The NFL is irrelevant. Have the bowl payouts been reduced as a result of the economy? No.


Send the band. It's a win-win for the members and for the school.

jazzeagle05 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
jazzeagle05 said...

Good question on the 39 number, Bill. That number comes from the Aloha bowl in Hawaii when there were 41 seats left on the booster charter plane that athletics was sending to the game. After they had filled all other seats, they had 41 remaining which meant 1 for the band's operations person, 1 for the director or other musical staff person, and 39 for the band members. When athletics decided to not send a band in subsequent years, they looked at that number and considered it their precedent. Currently, it is an arbitrary number that has no basis other than what is described above.

Matt, although I appreciate and agree with your sentiment, all of the sacrifice and hard work comments are not why athletics should pay for the band to go. The reason athletics should pay is because the band is the primary controllable element that can define the gameday atmosphere for BC and, from a perception and image standpoint, is required to represent what BC football is. For BC to gain and maintain the reputation of a serious national football program, it must make every effort to represent the school, athletics program and conference in a manner that speaks to the fact that we are a top national football program instead of the small NE school that doesn't take football seriously.

BC does not send large contingents of fans to big games for a number of reasons, but this is not within the control of athletics. Although it can offer incentives for fans to travel, at the end of the day people need to be willing to spend the money to go. Sending the band is something that is entirely within the control of the athletics department and choosing to only send a small number shows a complete lack of effort on the part of athletics to improve BC's traveling reputation and to convey the best image possible of the school and football program on the road.

If BC wants to be a big-time football program, it needs to act like a big time football program. That means we need to stop thinking like a regional NE school and cutting every corner possible to minimize cost. The athletics program is generating more money than ever through the ACC TV contracts, bowl payout structure, DBS, etc. Do the right thing to represent the school and the football program and send the band.

Craig said...

As a former band member, the band should not go if only 39 and 2 staff are invited. What a lack of appreciation on the part of the athletic department! If I was Dave Healy, I'd say no thank you.

jazzeagle05 said...

Craig, it's easy to understand your reaction, however the band must to its best to represent iteself and the program as best it can and, if that means they get to send 39 people, they'll send 39 people.

The athletics department needs to do its best to represent the program and school and that means sending the whole band. Isn't giving visibility to the school what athletics is for anyway?

The argument is difficult to make from an emotional perspective because it is so expensive to send the whole band. However, there's no question that the money is well spent when you consider how the band adds to the quality of the presentation of our athletics program and school, especially on the road. Since we've established that the money is more than available, athletics needs to send the whole band.

Craig said...

FYI to those on here who are intersted -- I just posted about this situation on the alumni band page on facebook encouraging folks upset with Athletics' decision to contact AD Gene DeFelippo on his office line or email address. He may be contacted at gene.d.1@bc.edu or (617) 552-4681. Gene has been receptive in the past to concerns and comments about athletics, so please feel free to let him know how you feel about this!

eagle1331 said...

I actually agree with Craig's idea. If the band remains united, it in and of itself would set a precedent and serve as an example to athletics. The band, from what I gather in these posts and from friends that were in the band, is just as much a "team" as any sporting team. Any time there is some of added bonus for a team, they should all go, not part of it.

The school would thoroughly embarrass itself and the ACC if it did not send a band there. If the lucky 39 say they're not going to go because they're not sending the whole unit, something tells me BC would be forced to send everyone. What are they going to do if you don't? Fire you? Take away the supposedly few if any scholarships they allocate to be shared?

Anonymous said...

Ryan said, "Way to completely NOT READ any of the post. There is a travel stipend provide by the ACC for this exact reason. All ACC bowl teams share revenue. This is nothing but a cash grab for athletics. Either that or they're reallocating the funds to somewhere where we probably don't need them (like a ritzy hotel or travel)."


Clearly you don't know the facts so please don't tell us that I did not read the post. The athletic department of BC is a cash drain on the University budget in the area of $6-8 million per year. Basketball and Football are the only two sports that are profitable. Not even hockey is in the black. The ACC pays the schools, not the football team or band. It is up to the Athletic Department how to spend. I think it is a responsible decision by Gene D to cut back when his department as a whole is a drain on the university.

Sorry, just because you have the cash sent to you by the ACC, it does not mean that they have to spend it. It is widely reported that Harvard's endowment is down 22%, and I would guess that BC's is down a similar amount. Basically the University is now trying to double the current endowment, with its recently announced campaign. People are not going to throw money at BC if they don't act responsibly.

I went to the Bowl game last year with my son in Orlando, so save the next rebuttal of how I don't support the team and/or university.

CT said...

With all due respect, the Athletics department a "drain" on the university budget? Please. The exposure that the football and basketball teams garner more than pays back the university in terms of applications, endowments, etc. There's a reason applications shot through the roof after we beat ND in '93. It certainly wasn't due to the Nursing or Law Schools or size of the library. And most schools only make money with the Big 2, which fund the rest of the sports programs. That also touches on the issue of Title IX. Girls Field Hockey...not a big money earner.

I don't think not sending the whole band is acting responsibly. I do think there's a greater good that is served. We moved to the ACC to be a big-player in a big-time conference and to stretch our sphere of influence, so to speak, to the south. If the economy is hampering the Athletics Dept., one would also expect to see tuition drop, bowl payouts to drop, and ticket prices to drop.

I'd like to meet the person who says, "you know what, I would've given to BC, but they sent the whole band to the bowl game and that just smacks of finacial irresponsibility." Maybe there is such a person. I think most others, however, would agree that sending messages is sometimes more important than sending kids home.

Matt said...


Although I disagree with you, you're right. Our athletics program does run in the red. Of course, so do the vast majority of athletics programs in the country. Other than Michigan, USC, Texas, Notre Dame, and a few others, most FBS (D-1A) athletics programs rely on general tuition revenue to supplement the amounts necessary to provide our athletics departments with the funds necessary to provide hundreds of athletes with full scholarships, exclusive workout facilities, special tutoring programs, and other amenities that are foreign to the "everyday" BC student.

I am NOT arguing that these expenditures are not worth it (although the parents spending the full $51K a year very well might). I am simply saying that if any students (other than the football players themselves) should be entitled to reap the benefits of a successful season, it should be the kids who work the hardest to support the team, through good times and bad.

jazzeagle05 said...

Matt, once again, I agree with you on the fairness issue, but that really isn't a convincing argument to send the band. It costs a lot of money to send 200 people anywhere for a few days. The athletics program needs understand that it is money well-spent.

BC cannot possibly hope to adequately represent themselves as a serious national program that hopes to compete with the best of college football if it doesn't make an effort to represent the school appropriately at high-visibility games.

We all agree that the fan support is something that BC lacks at bowl games (or the ACCCG for that matter), but how can we really blame the fans for not taking these games seriously if the athletics department doesn't even take them seriously by bringing available resources to represent the BC brand at the game?

This is not about how the band members feel about travel and how much they deserve to go, this about how athletics chooses to represent the school on the national stage.

And Craig and eagle1331, for what it's worth, this is done deal, there is no option to decline at this point.

Ryan said...

@ Michael

"Clearly [I] don't know the facts"? Save the elitist crap. It's common knowledge that athletics department costs the university money, but so do their counterparts at every other school. Somehow, they still manage to send their whole bands. Athletics does more for BC than could ever be measured, and if you honestly think that it isn't beneficial to our school to make it look like the students are having a good time, then you clearly do not understand the mind of the average high school applicant.

Anonymous said...

CT said...
"With all due respect, the Athletics department a "drain" on the university budget? Please. The exposure that the football and basketball teams garner more than pays back the university in terms of applications, endowments, etc. There's a reason applications shot through the roof after we beat ND in '93. It certainly wasn't due to the Nursing or Law Schools or size of the library."

Thankfully BC is not run by Eagle in Atlanta and we this discussion group is not the Board. Here are the facts:


"In a 1994 article in the Economics of Education Review, BC economist Robert Murphy reported on a study of 55 universities with I-A football programs (BC was not in the study group) that found a positive and statistically significant correlation between a winning football season and increases in applications. But the predicted application increase based on the research was a modest 1.3 percent tied to a three-win improvement over the previous season.

"Sports can attract an applicant's attention," said John Mahoney '79, BC's director of undergraduate admission. "But then the institution has to stand up to the scrutiny that applicants and their parents are going to apply to the US News rating, physical plant, campus culture, percent of classes taught by full-time faculty, and how many graduates are employed at graduation or go on to law or medical school. It's been my experience that folks who are making six-figure investments on behalf of their children tend not to get distracted by box scores, one way or the other."

In fact, in 1997, one year after revelations about gambling resulted in a coach's resignation, 13 student-athlete suspensions, an investigation by the NCAA, and hundreds of embarrassing media reports, applications for admission came in at 16,455, virtually unchanged from the previous year. Two years later, when applications jumped by a record 17 percent to 19,746, the surge followed a 4-7 year for football."

ClassO10 said...

BC should fork up the dough and pay for the band to go. I'm going to the game and want to hear them play Shipping Up to Boston.

bcmikey said...

I'm also a former band member, and I can tell you that the charter flight out to Tuscon for the Insight.com bowl was filled with university bigwigs and donors. Great for them, but if I was still a band member and I was getting denied a chance to go to the bowl game after practicing for many hours a week, devoting my entire Saturday to playing as part of Game Day because we had to bring a whole bunch of university administrators who could give a hoot about football, I'd be rightfully pissed.

Furthermore, for those who haven't gone to the bowl games before (and I only got to go to one as a student, thank you Dan Henning), the football team and boosters are regaled all week at big banquets, have special events, etc. You know what we did with the band? We got a buffet lunch at some Mexican restaurant after getting to show up and play in a battle of the bands for those people at the banquet. We got to practice, eat on a small stipend, and have a little fun, but we got very few of the perks associated with the football team, university officials, and boosters. Maybe that's changed since I went 9 years ago, but generally, the band was a low cost other than shoving us on a charter plane and putting us up in a Courtyard by Marriott for $89/night, 4 to a room.

So for those who think this is any kind of major drain to the university, chances are slim that this is actually true. My guess is that there were 39 seats on the plane available, and the first thing to get squeezed - as usual - is the band. I'm sure Dave Healy will do his best to get everyone onto the plane, and it'll probably change as boosters and others end up not going and seats open up, but I feel sorry for the band members who will get squeezed.

I know most of us on this message board don't disagree with the notion of sending the entire band, but I hope everyone appreciates the amount of time the band puts in to perform for an entire Saturday at Alumni Stadium, now 7 times a year (and coming back the day after Thanksgiving for the final home game as well this year, which probably meant some kids didn't go home.) I suppose I'm also just amazed that college sports has gotten to the point that kids who have a frozen mouthpiece glued to their face for 10 hours on a Saturday just to support the football team, AS STUDENTS OF THE UNIVERSITY, get stepped on by Athletics to swerve to those with cushy university jobs and people with large payrolls. Yes, I get the allure and the need for donations, but it's still a kick in the teeth for these kids.

You can feel free to disagree with me or rip my post to shreds, I just have to vent having been in the band and having been squeezed out by Athletics because we were an easy corner to cut.

Anonymous said...

Mike Murphy,

Just so you are aware, Notre Dame is NOT sending any members of their band to Hawaii:


"Notre Dame, though, appeared comfortable with heading to Hawaii. Expenses will be made more manageable -- for example, as of now Notre Dame senior associate director for athletics for media relations John Heisler said the band will not be traveling -- and the Irish won't leave until after finals conclude on Dec. 19.

"No, they will not," Heisler said about the band traveling. "Unless something changes. The budget and things we put together did not include the band."

Anonymous said...


Notre Dame Football last year did $59 million in revenues, BC did $19.

J Mac said...

Yet another slap in the face from the BC athletic department to its dedicated fans. You beg for us to go and travel near and far to see our team who can never get over the hump to a bowl that matter and yet we can't even send the BAND! I remember being at the Tire Bowl in Charlotte straining to hear the small band (was it 39 then as well?) play For Boston..made me feel like a JV team on a visit to play the big boys. Gene needs to step his game up.

Unknown said...

"If the lucky 39 say they're not going to go because they're not sending the whole unit, something tells me BC would be forced to send everyone. What are they going to do if you don't? Fire you? Take away the supposedly few if any scholarships they allocate to be shared?"

I can tell you what they will do, because this happened in 2002. We were told a small ensemble would be sent to Detroit. Dave felt it was unfair to require only some people to miss Christmas with their families, and decided to come back to athletics to say that it would be all band or no band. Athletics selected no band, and then HIRED a small ensemble from who knows where to play For Boston at the game in place of the actual band. This was a huge embarrassment, as I don't believe the band they hired played it quite right, and I think it created a huge misconception about the band (as if we all chose not to go). In years following, they continued to only send a small group and Dave did not hold on the "all band or no band" policy. I'm sure even if Dave held on that this time, they would say "Thanks but no thanks!" and go hire an ensemble located in Nashville to play our fight song. Sad, but true.

Matt said...

When Boston College made the Aloha Bowl in 1994, BC didn't send its band either. (This was the year, that BC beat ND 30-13 and finished 7-4-1. Notre Dame went 6-5, but got to bring its band to the Fiesta Bowl. Am I still bitter about this? No, of course not.)

Long story short, travelling to Hawaii is a much different story than travelling to Tennessee. Will it still cost money? Of course it will. But as many others on this board have already noted, its a worthy expense for a "FBS" school attempting to establish its reputation as a "player" on the national scene.

Matt said...

Also, wouldn't ACC teams have more money to spend this year than schools in other conferences, in light of the fact that they are sending the most teams to bowl games?


eagle1331 said...

Herz got robbed... Butkus award went to the guy from Wake

downtown_resident said...

Please don't compare the costs of a trip from Indiana to Hawaii to a trip from Boston to Nashville. The total cost of such a trip is not in the same universe, especially when lodging and meals in Honolulu-- one of the most expensive cities in the world-- is taken into account. If BC chose not to send the band to Hawaii, we would all understand. Nashville is another story.

I just e-mailed Gene and told him to send the whole band. The athletic department cannot simultaneously encourage fans to travel to the mid-tier bowl games (berating us through the media when we don't) and not ante up to send the band to the same games. It's completely hypocritical.

CT said...

Michael, I appreciate your argument (even if BC wasn't included in the '94 study). However, ND doesn't really struggle with attracting a fanbase or projecting an image. They're Notre Dame. Comparing revenues--ND has its own channel--only makes my point all the more. Point being, you simply can't compare BC and ND in terms of money or prestige. Just because we beat them every year doesn't mean we can compete with them in these other aspects. Did I mention that we beat them every year? Yes? Okay then.

Apples and oranges. Though no Orange Bowl.

Second, the Big 2 are essentially commercials for the university (remember, we also beat #1 UNC in the NCAAs in '94). Of course they get people's attention! That's the whole point!

For the Director of Undergraduate Admissions to give any credence to the US News ratings is funny (though, I suspect he mentions them b/c parents do). But tell me then, what was the point of moving conferences if the Big 2 don't translate brand and image to a wider audience?

Come on. You moved to be a bigger player in athletics, not b/c you admired Duke's class sizes. I agree with the Board...this is about branding and image. The little things. ND may not want to pay for additional seats on a flight to Hawaii (can see the logic in that), but they don't have much ground to make up in the image department. We do. And the conference move, as smart as it was, hasn't gotten the fanbase to buy more tickets.

Have bowl payouts dropped?

So, yeah, let's send a pep band or hire a band to play the fight song. That'll send the right message. Plus, Michael, don't you think rewarding some hard-working kids also sends the right message?

Anonymous said...

Let's see if Gene D mans up and brings the entire band like every other school that is going to a bowl game.

What was the point of Gene bringing the school to the ACC if we still travel and act like a Big East school?

Gene's greatest decision yet Gene's inability to take BC athletics to the next level is astounding.

If only Father Leahy could see.

Mark said...

You know what is really interesting...for the Insight.com bowl (Y2K) the staff members, I was a member, were told that there were not enough seats on the plane for the trip for spouses to go. This was told by the director of football operations (what was her name again???) because the plane ticket cost was too great (on a charter flight???) For those who were on the plane, there were at least 50 EMPTY seats. But don't be sad for the band, at least in 2004 the band members each got a sandwich and a beer stein to commemorate the aloha bowl. Let's not be naive, in our country, the band will not get its due. As an educator for many years now, the lack of support is staggering. Music keeps our kids in schools, much more often than our athletes who stay in to play and just about nothing else. These kids work their butts off, pass their classes, stay for the entire game, get scoffed at for their pursuits by the same people they cheer on, get jeers from the fans who sit next to them. Because the tuba player does not get an endorsement, he is shunned by his university. The "flag girl" does not get time on the tv to show off her talents because her midsection with it's glittering jewels is not exposed.

I liked my first college football game. There were no people in the stands when the team started play (and this was a good team). The band left their seats shortly before the end of the first half and when we reentered, the stands were full TO SEE THE BAND!!!!!

Some day we as a society will see the importance of acceptance and support of all endeavors on our campuses whether they make money for the school or not. When that happens, maybe more alums will actually donate money to these same schools.

By the way, congrats for being able to bring your son to the big game. I hope that you both had an excellent time cheering on BC, hopefully you also cheered on the band.

Anonymous said...

Mark said:

"By the way, congrats for being able to bring your son to the big game. I hope that you both had an excellent time cheering on BC, hopefully you also cheered on the band."


I agree with just about everything that you said. My questions is not focused on the band. My question is what are we doing in The ACC, which obviously will be well received here!